When I reopened my computer a minute ago at 5:46 a.m. (CET), my eyes were blinded by the white light on my screen. I fell asleep three hours ago after my computer shut down, and the news report I was watching ran out of news to tell.
Last night at 10:30 p.m., I had been on the phone for five minutes with an old friend from Georgia, telling her about my exciting Friday night in when I began to receive concerned texts. It was an incoming call from a friend also here in Paris that explained the context of the “Are you okay?!” messages.
Paris was wounded. At that time, hostages were being held at La Bataclan, where an American metal band had been playing, several shootings had erupted in the 10th and 11th arrondissements, where I had been the day before, and explosions had been live recorded at the Stade de France’s match between France and Germany. “They’ve evacuated the president,” my friend let out before we both got off the phone to check in with our loved ones.
I locked my door, drew the curtain and began to hear sirens pulse through the street. I wrote to friends and family here in France and at home in the U.S., and anxiously watched an English speaking news report as I checked Twitter for news updates.
My world has seemed to pause tonight as I wait for news, for daylight to cloak those of us here in comfort. I have been overwhelmed by the support and solidarity of my own loved ones, and pray that we, as a global community, can provide the same empathy to those affected, specifically to the families of those killed, the wounded, and the rest of us here—laying awake and thinking about what today will tell us about last night.
Terrorism seeks to kill our peace of mind, our sense of security. As an American who was a child when 9/11 occurred, I’ve grown up with the ‘idea’ of terrorism, yet the term becomes real when your everyday life becomes threatened, and you question the security of all the things you did without thought the day before.
I would be lying if I told you that last night’s attacks in the city that I’ve come to call home didn’t scare me. I’ve been in the attacked areas too many times on a Friday night to not realize how fortunate I am to have already been home when I got that call.
It’s a sobering thought, and my heart and hand goes out to all of those who went out last night and suffered because of it. I pray that as daylight comes the people of Paris would find answers, truth and support as we step back out into our lives with courage and heal from this trauma.
I know that if the support I’ve received from people in my life around the world can be shown in our daily lives, then I have faith that the people of Paris can learn to live unafraid, and grow together in strength from these horrific acts of evil and violence.